Firegirl by Tony Abbott


Even though the cover reminded me of Spinelli’s Stargirl, that is where the similarity ends.

This young adult novel by Tony Abbott is told from the perspective of an over weight seventh grader named Tom Bender.  Tom is a typical boy in that he dreams of cars, a girl and being a ‘hero’, until the introduction of a new student….which slowly changes his perspective on everything.  The shock of Jessica’s disfigured appearance has Tom and his classmates wrestling with emotions and reactions that have been foreign to them up to this point in their lives. As Tom fights his own demons of fear and revulsion, he slowly comes to know the Jessica under the horrifically scarred exterior and his views on and about people begin to subtley change. An unsual connection between Jessica and Tom is made where both find tolerance , acceptance and , compassion in different ways.

This is a touching story of friendship, perserverence, personal tragedy and inspiration.

Reading Ability: Grade 7,8 (intermediate)

Genre: Realistic fiction

Theme: Perserverence; Compassion; Inspiration; Tolerance; Friendship 

Similar reads: Shug by J. Han; Feathers by J. Woodson; Rules by C. Lord

Curriculum Connections:

Summary and Study Guide:


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